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13 Tips On How To Be More Productive During Your Workday

13 Tips On How To Be More Productive During Your Workday

To be able to start and leave work on time and keep your boss happy, you need to be able to make the most out of the time that you have available in the working day to get the things that you need to do done. Depending on the type of job that you do and the way that you like to work, some of these handy tips, tricks and tools can help. Read on for 13 tips on how to be more productive during your workday to ensure that you rattle through your to-do list and keep your procrastination tendencies in check.

  • Make lists
  • Colour coding
  • Set deadlines
  • Take breaks
  • Stay hydrated
  • Breakdown the workload
  • Prioritise
  • Minimise meetings or make them productive
  • Limit interruptions
  • Accountability
  • Tidy desk, tidy mind
  • Block out your time
  • Delegate tasks

If you find yourself putting off big jobs, staring out the window or endlessly writing and rewriting lists that never get done, then you may be able to utilise some simple of the tips, tricks and tools that we’ve put together to help you to manage your time in a better way. Whether you use just one idea or a combination, simply choose the ones that suit your personality and working style for the best chance of boosting your productivity.

Get Work Done Like A Pro

Efficiency, organisation, time keeping, and prioritisation are all key skills to have when it comes to being more productive. If this doesn’t sound like you, don’t worry because there are simple things that anyone can do to keep their work flowing. The key is to choose techniques that suit the way that helps you to work best.

Lists

Productivity starts by knowing exactly what you have to do when it has to be done, and the tools you need to do it. By using good old-fashioned paper and pen or online tools such as Trello, files or one drive to make lists and keep track of exactly what you need to do and the deadlines to meet, you will always have a single place to look and update when managing your workload. Pick a way of recording your tasks and projects that you find easy to use and are comfortable updating regularly and accurately to ensure getting and staying organised doesn’t take more time than the work you need to do itself.

Lists put your tasks in black and white right in front of you. Adding due dates will instantly show you which tasks need to be tackled first, and which can wait a bit longer. It will also help you to understand if your workload is achievable within the time you have available.

If you regularly have more work than you have hours in the day, then it’s time to have a talk with your boss and ask if some of your workloads can be shared across the team or if you can get it done as over-time. This can help to manage the stress that comes with a big to-do list.

Colour coding

box files in colour coding system

Lists aren’t for everyone, so if you’re more of a visual person, you may prefer to use a colour coding system to help keep tasks on track and on time. By categorising tasks with colours that show their urgency, work type or project, you can easily see which tasks need your time and attention and tackle the colour-coded pile with the biggest priority need first.

Set Deadlines

If you find that you do your best work when up against a deadline, try setting yourself deadlines to give you the urgency that you need. For example, breaking up your day into chunks of time can work for some people. Try giving yourself two hours in the morning or afternoon, depending on when you work best, then choose one task or piece of work to work solidly on and complete as much as you can in that time. Knowing the clock is ticking down can provide extra motivation to stay on track and rattle through the work that you need to do compared to when you give yourself all day to ponder over it.

Take Breaks

Our brains can’t concentrate for hours on end so it’s important to give yourself time to switch off with a break from work so that you can get the most out of your working day. Whether you work at a desk with a computer or are always on your feet, take time to step away and physically move somewhere else to give yourself a change of scenery and time to recharge your motivation at regular intervals. A ten-minute brisk walk around the block, listening to your favourite music, or gentle stretching can do wonders for your energy levels and concentration.

Stay Hydrated And Eat Well 

A nice follow-up to taking breaks is ensuring that you fuel your body properly for the work it’s doing. You wouldn’t expect a car to get you from A to B without any fuel in it, so don’t expect your body to meet the demands that you put on it if it doesn’t have enough water or the right kind of food to keep it going.

As 55-60% of the human body is made up of water, and the food that you eat plays a big role in your energy and concentration levels, what you eat and drink will impact your productivity at work. If you’re constantly having sugar dips due to snacking on the wrong foods, it will be incredibly hard to stay on track with your to-do list and get things done.

Have a reusable bottle of water on your desk to ensure you’re drinking throughout the day and take healthy snacks to work with you to prevent grabbing the first thing available in the canteen or staff kitchen.

Prioritise

Unless you have time-travelling abilities, no one can get everything on their work to-do list done in a day. So, instead of worrying about everything at once, breaking your workload down into more manageable chunks is a good way to focus on what needs doing and is achievable to do in the time you have.

Try setting yourself up for the following day by putting together your top 3 priorities for tomorrow at the end of your working day. That way, you will know exactly what you need to get done when you start work and can get straight on with it. If you then have any spare time you can rattle through some of the easier, quick jobs safe in the knowledge that you’re not taking time away from the important things that need to get done.

This tool can help you to concentrate on one task at a time meaning you can boost your productivity as you’re more likely to get tasks finished when not multitasking across several things at the same time.

Minimise Meetings Or Make Them Meaningful

Workers around a meeting table with laptops

Meetings are some of the biggest time drains in the workplace. By the time everyone has arrived, got drinks, and settled down, it’s ten minutes into the allotted meeting time. Add in the discussion points and wrap up and before you know it, 90 minutes have been lost and no real output has been achieved. Try limiting meetings to 30 minutes or less the majority of the time, start them on time, have a clear agenda & objective before they take place, utilise same-time software so people don’t need to travel, and try walking meetings to get your steps in and stay alert throughout. All of these tips can make meetings more meaningful and help staff to stay productive at work.

Limit Interruptions

If you’re anything like us, every time the phone goes, an email alert pops up on your screen or somebody walks past your desk, your concentration is broken and it takes another five or ten minutes to get back into what you were doing. Just 2 or 3 of these interruptions an hour can have a huge impact on your levels of productivity over the working day.

You can therefore be more productive by taking steps to limit the number of times that your concentration is broken by turning off notifications on your phone or email, having your back to the door if your office is on a busy corridor, and putting phones to voicemail for parts of the day when you’re working on something specific.

Accountability 

Just like having a workout buddy helps to motivate you to show up for a workout, having a work accountability contact can help you to stay on track with your workload. This works particularly well for people who like to please others. By missing a deadline or not making much progress leading to the disappointment of someone else, you may be more inclined to get tasks done. If you respond well to rewards, you can always ask your accountability contact to give out incentives or penalties in response to maintaining your productivity or failing to meet your deadline.

Tidy Desk Or Workspace

The familiar saying tidy desk, tidy mind illustrates that for most people, a cluttered workspace makes it hard for workers to concentrate properly and harder to get things done in a meaningful way. This means that those who take the time to keep their desks tidy and organised may have more head space to stay on track with the tasks they need to get done.

Try having a designated filing system for work in progress, work to be reviewed and things that are done and awaiting filing or distributing elsewhere. Sorting your desk paperwork in an organised manner like this will save you time when trying to find what you need and will create space on your desk for you to work.

Set a reminder to have a full desk clear out and sort your filing at least once a fortnight to ensure that you don’t end up with piles of untouched and out-of-date papers for months on end.

The final thing to think about when organising your desk for optimum productivity is to ensure that you have everything that you need to hand. If you know what you’ll be working on in advance, (like when you pick out your top three priorities for the following day), then you can gather up all the equipment, tools, files and information that you need before you get to work. This ensures you have everything to hand and won’t get distracted when looking for a tool or file that you need and breaking your concentration.

Block Out Your Time

You know when you work best. If you’re most productive in the mornings, block out the mornings to tackle big projects or tasks that need your brain firing on all cylinders. Then block out an hour in the afternoon each day to mop up easy, less brain-taxing items on your to-do list when you’re less motivated. Flip these timings around to meet your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your most productive times of the day.

Blocking out this time in your calendar, especially if you’re part of a team that can book time with you via a shared calendar, helps others to know when you’re busy, and therefore they’re less likely to interrupt you if they know you’re working on something specific.

Another easy time blocking tip is to only check your emails at certain times of the day rather than constantly flicking in and out of your inbox when new emails come in. Try a morning, lunch and afternoon email check where you respond to anything new in one go or file messages that need to be followed up and schedule a convenient time to do this before moving on to a task that is actually on your to-do list.

Delegate Tasks

A problem shared, is a problem solved as the saying goes. If you are lucky enough to have a team around you or one that you manage, asking others for help, or delegating simple tasks can be a brilliant way to boost productivity and allow you to work on the important things.

Rather than putting off something because it’s not quite your area of expertise, or because you haven’t got time to dedicate the amount of time it needs, asking somebody with more knowledge or a genuine interest in that area, or someone with a lighter workload to assist can boost productivity.

We hope this article has given you some valuable tips on how to be more productive during your workday. To recap, the key to being more productive is understanding how you work now and knowing simple ways that you can reduce distractions and increase your output. If you take a little and often approach to changing your habits, you can build up sustainable changes that will make a difference to your workday.

  • Make lists
  • Colour coding
  • Set deadlines
  • Take breaks
  • Stay hydrated
  • Breakdown the workload
  • Prioritise
  • Minimise meetings or make them productive
  • Limit interruptions
  • Accountability
  • Tidy desk, tidy mind
  • Block out your time
  • Delegate tasks

Start by picking one or two simple ways of boosting your productivity from the list above based on what works best for your style of working and personality, then continue to add in more tips as you become comfortable with the change. By combining several tools to save time and boost your ability to concentrate at work, you will become more productive at work in no time.

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